Chapter One: Blissful Awakening
Chapter One: Blissful Awakening
The sun slowly pierced above the shadowed horizon as daylight began to gleam through the canopy of the jungle. For miles around all that could be seen from the sky was dense plant-life reaching towards the sun, hoping to bask in its warmth. In the distance, mountains towered so far into the skyline that the summit was covered by a thick layer of clouds. Snowfall dotted randomly over the face of the behemoth landforms. As the sun gradually rose, the light began to reflect off the surface of the stream which ran from the foot of the mountain cascading down the hillside. Fish leapt in and out of the water and the awakening birds and animals of the jungle set out to find their morning meals. For miles around, the gigantic tropical trees waved slowly in the soft breeze, a thin layer of low lying clouds gently gliding across the skyline. The sound of the raging waterfalls could be heard from a distance, the pools beneath them creating enough mist to form a stunning rainbow. The temperature, already beginning to soar, was slowly joined by a nice humidity. The birds joyously awaking from their rest, began to chirp melodically. Once again, daylight had brought the jungle to life.
Beneath the canopy was a temporary camp site which had been set up by two young explorers who had travelled to deep within the Brazilian rainforest in search of adventure. As the sun ascended, the birds began to dart beneath the canopy, fluttering about and surrounding the smouldering remains of the camp fire. A flurry of colours somewhat danced around to the melody of the jungle as the temperature continued to rise and the last of the droplets from the previous night’s rainfall fell from the leaves onto the muddy forest floor. The air was still very humid but complimented with a gentle easterly breeze. The rustling of the leaves blowing in the wind was soothing to hear, as the many tree dwelling creatures hopped back and forth between branches. The animals on the ground, somewhat envious of the birds’ ability to reach the heavens, simply scurried around looking for their breakfast, rummaging through what remained of the two adventures supper from the previous night. Suddenly a yawn caused all the creatures to scatter back into their surroundings, leaving the camp site empty, with the exception of a few insects that did not fear human contact.
The noise had emanated from within a small two person tent. A young man by the name of Nicholas arose from his blissful slumber and was amazed to hear the sounds of the jungle. Nicholas, or Nick as his friends called him, had just turned twenty one. He worked for a computer company selling desktops to businesses. Definitely not the type you would consider adventurous, Nick had been what most assume to be ‘a nerd’ for most of his life. He had lived in New York all his life and this was the first time he had even left the comfort of the city. It may seem strange to some people that the first trip he took had been taken to the rainforest, however he had his own reasons for this. Though his parents were both successful lawyers and worked for one of the top firms in America, his Grandfather had been a treasure hunter. Nick felt constantly pressured by his parents to follow in their footsteps but he had different plans for his life and as a result he rarely spoke to his parents any more. The only time he saw them was around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but other than that they kept their distance.
But his Grandfather was different. Nick had always idolized his Grandfather and even as a little boy he had wanted to be like him and travel the world in search of adventure. He still remembered the stories his Grandfather told him when he was young, of a great city buried in the rainforest. When his Grandfather sadly passed away, Nick made a promise to himself that he would find the lost city from his stories. It seemed like the perfect way to honour his memory. And now, in desperate need of a holiday, despite having to leave the city, it was an exciting prospect for him.
Turning to his right, he prodded his partner Ellie, bringing her out of her dreaming state to listen to the natural world and marvel at its beauty. Nick carefully unzipped the front of the tent and gazed upon the remains of last night’s fire, before turning to face Ellie and staring into her deep green eyes. He was drawn in by her smile.
“We need more firewood if we’re going to have breakfast, the damn fire has gone out” he stated in a mellow tone, yawning as his mind began to wake up.
Flicking her long flowing hazelnut hair over her left shoulder Ellie giggled. “We could have had a lay in if you’re so tired. I mean, we did have a lot of exercise last night”. Nick laughed at the innuendo behind the comment.
“Yeah, that’s what it was, ‘exercise’” he said as he grabbed his underwear and slipped them on under the covers.
“I’ll go get the wood you work on making breakfast, Hun.” Ellie replied as she herself started to put on some clothing and cover up her modesty. Nick simply smiled at her - he didn’t say anything, but he was glad that Ellie was the first thing he woke up to each morning. He could spend all day just gazing upon her beauty, happily thanking god that they had found each other.
“It sounds so beautiful out there babe, but tell me again why we didn’t go somewhere less wet, and with a beach or even a bar?” Ellie questioned as she sat upright. Nick, who at this point was sat by the entrance to the tent, already in his partly worn black jeans, reached out and grabbed his t-shirt – dark, with the somewhat crude design of an obscene gesture on the rear.
“Now here I am thinking you enjoy getting wet” he joked, slowly putting on the t-shirt and proceeding to brush his fringe out of his eyes, followed by another yawn.
“Seriously is that all you think about?” Ellie responded whilst trying not to laugh.
“Hey, you started it remember? And to be honest, that isn’t all I think about, but I do enjoy it when I do.” Nick winked at her. “The waterfall is only a hundred yards or so away, I’m going to go get some water for the pot. Don’t be too long finding wood” he stated with a smirk on his face as if to show he meant innuendo by the statement. Ellie gave him a light playful slap and told him to leave, pushing him out the front of the tent as Nick struggled to get into his boots.
“You need to get your mind out of the gutter now boy!” Ellie stated, “Although to be truthful, I am probably worse than you are”. Nick laughed at her as he clambered out of the tent, almost falling face first into the moist muddy ground.
“No babe but you are pretty close” he responded, and as he walked off towards what must have been west, Ellie climbed out of the tent wearing a white halter top with a floral pattern, a pendant around her neck and dark blue three quarter length skinny fit jeans, grabbing hold of the tent pole to slip into her second black converse trainer. She glanced over to see Nick walking away and smiled, she pulled out her cell phone and proceeded to take a photograph of him wading through the dense jungle. Ellie was the type to cherish every moment, she was ambitious and adventurous, loved her camera and saw every picture as a memory that she could look back upon at any time. Some good, some bad, but still memories that she never wished to forget. If there was one belief that she had in life it was to be adventurous as you can never learn from your mistakes if you’re too cautious to make any. Ellie decided to head east and she set out to find dry firewood, though not before zipping up the front of the tent. As she wandered off she began to think about her future. She was only nineteen and had no definite long-term plans, but she knew one thing. That she was completely head over heels in love with Nick. She began to think about their future together and how as long as he was around, she was not afraid to do anything. Life when they were together seemed uncomplicated, as if no matter what choices were made, they were always the correct ones.
As Nick stumbled through the densely overgrown jungle looking for the waterfall, his mind slipped back to how he met Ellie and he drifted into a somewhat realistic daydreaming state. He had been walking with his friends through Central Park in New York when he glimpsed at a girl sitting by the fountain. He could tell by the expression on her face that she was a thousand miles away with her head stuck in a book, and he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was. Moments like this were rare and although Nick was not one to believe in love at first sight, he did find himself somehow interested in the stranger. In his daydream he turned to face his friend, which resulted in him tripping over a log in reality. He was faced with the jungle again, head down in mud next to the trickling stream. Staggering to his feet, he gazed up at the waterfall cascading down the rock face. There were parakeets in a variety of colours flying around and chirping to one another as if they were dancing to the sounds of the jungle. He bent down and undone the top of the canteen, lowered it slowly into the stream and as he waited for it to fill his mind returned to his daydream.
There she was sitting by herself, reading, and something had Nick memorized as he stood there motionless.
“Come on fool” shouted one of his friends as they noticed he had stopped dead in his tracks. “We’re going to miss the gig”. Nick looked towards his friends and back at the girl before running over to catch his friends up. His mind was still stuck thinking about the girl and he glanced back just for a moment, but she had gone. In reality, Nick did the top of the canteen up and took out his cell phone. Although there was no signal he wanted to see the wallpaper picture of him and Ellie at a Christmas party. He remembered when the picture was taken - it was the first time both of their parents had got together and to Nick’s surprise, they all seemed to get along. Smiling, he put the cell phone back into his pocket and turned towards the camp site. The sun was still filtering down through the dense canopy. As he strolled back he thought to himself how magical the jungle seemed and stopped to pick up a stunning purple flower that had caught his attention. He was happy that he could spend his time here, at his first escape from the clutches of the city, with the girl he wished to spend the rest of his life with.
In the other direction, Ellie was clambering around, looking under the overgrown plants for dry wood. Although she seemed happy on the surface, something was bothering her. She sat on a log and took her cell phone out of her pocket. Staring pointlessly at the black screen for what seemed like an eternity, she placed it back in her pocket. She was overjoyed to be in the rainforest with her boyfriend, but she was also homesick at the same time and as time went by those conflicted feelings were slowly making their way to the surface. Standing, she continued her search for firewood and saw an injured bird on the ground, with its wing badly injured from what she assumed had been a scuffle with another animal.
“Hey there little guy” She said as she placed the firewood down and reached out to pick up the poor creature. “Don’t worry it will heal with time, all wounds do.” She looked up and saw a flock of birds similar to him flying around the canopy. “At least you have family you can go to” She whispered to the bird. She spent a few moments carefully cleaning the wound before throwing the bird upwards. The bird struggled for a second and then began to climb higher and higher towards the others. Ellie smiled, feeling much happier, and picked up the firewood, turning back towards the camp site and singing to her favourite song, thinking of back home.
She drifted away to the past years she had spent living in New York. The first day she arrived it was pouring down with heavy rain. Thunder crashed around her as the lightning striking the tops of the nearby skyscrapers illuminated the overcast sky. She stepped off onto the platform to see an older gentleman with an umbrella waiting for her. He didn’t say anything, only waved and began to walk over towards her. Until the age of eleven Ellie had lived in an orphanage. Her parents had been killed in a car crash shortly after her fourth birthday. The gentleman was the father in her new family. He was rather short for a male, early forties and balding, however dressed formally in an expensive suit, despite the potentially damaging weather. He had taken a shine to Ellie after a visit to the orphanage to survey the building. Knowing his wife could not conceive, he went home and after a long discussion, they decided to adopt Ellie. Something about her was different. She was quiet but full of hope, even though she was all alone in the world.
He greeted her with a handshake before reminding her of his name. Taking her back to his home in New Jersey, Ellie met his wife and officially became part of the family. It didn’t take long before Ellie’s new parents became so attached to the young girl it was as if they had been her parents from birth. The first journey back to her new home surprisingly wasn’t at all awkward.
“Don’t worry, it doesn’t always rain here, just had some really bad weather recently” said the gentleman, eyes focused on the road. Ellie could remember watching the drops of rain drift down the window.
“I don’t mind the rain sometimes, it can be beautiful and it helps me sleep” she replied. The gentleman briefly glanced at her in his mirror before returning his eyes to the road.
“You know, my wife Sally says exactly the same thing.” He informed her. Ellie, turning to face her new father, had a few questions to ask about the family.
“So that’s her name. What is she like? Will I have any brothers or sisters? Or maybe a dog?” her voice was full of excitement as the future looked hopeful. “I’m sorry, your name was Alistair wasn’t it?” Ellie asked shyly.
“Your new mother, she is a beautiful woman, the kindest most loving person I have ever met. I think of myself as lucky every day that I’m with her” stated the gentleman as he passed her a picture from his cars sun visor. “And yes, my name is Alistair. Sadly, you will be an only child but at least you will get spoiled.” He smiled at her, and Ellie smiled back “Trust me, Sally cannot wait to meet you” he continued, still focussed on the road. The rain was making it difficult to see, even with the windscreen wipers turned to full speed. “For someone your age you are rather well spoken, half the kids I come across are nowhere near as polite as you are” Alistair commented, quickly glancing at Ellie.
“Oh my god, she is very pretty. I hope I can be as pretty as her when I grow up” Ellie replied, staring at the photo of Sally “Oh, and the orphanage didn’t have much to do, so I read a lot. One of the workers there said I’m very mature for my age” she informed Alistair, handing back the photo. He could not help but let out a small laugh.
“I would have to agree with them, you do come across as a mature young girl. In fact I must compliment you on how well educated you seem. We picked out a nice school for you to go to, nothing to fancy but you should enjoy it. Actually, we’re hoping you will enjoy all of your new life, and to tell you a secret, we have bought a puppy too, as a welcome gift, so you’d better start thinking of names.” Ellie let out a loud sequel of excitement
“Oh my god, I am going to love it. Not just the puppy, everything. Thank you so much Alistair” she said, even more excited now to get to her new home.
Upon arriving, Alistair slowly pulled the car into the driveway and Ellie gazed with awe at the house before her. The garden was freshly cut, with a single birch tree in the centre, surrounded by a ring of stunning flowers. A smooth stone pathway lead up to the front porch, where there was a bench. The house was painted a lovely Alice blue paint with wooden fixtures running around it. It seemed large from the outside alone. Ellie could not wait to run inside and explore the place.
As she stepped out of the car, the front door opened. Standing in the doorway was Sally, carrying a small brown Labrador puppy. Alistair collected Ellie’s luggage from the boot as Ellie ran straight to her new mother.
“Hello Eleanor, I’m Sally. And this little girl hasn’t been given a name yet” Sally introduced herself as she passed the puppy over to her young owner. Without thought, the perfect name appeared in Ellie’s mind.
“Faith, her name is Faith”.
And from that moment the rest of the day flew by. The next week Ellie started to attend the local school and she quickly adapted to her new way of life. She managed to slip into a routine, not being noticed too much at school for being the ‘new kid’, but still managing to make friends. On her first day she introduced herself to a group of ‘social outcasts’, as the other students saw them. Quickly forming bonds with them all, she befriended one girl named Heather. Still young and innocent, they would spend hours with each other, gossiping, going to the cinema, each day growing closer. After countless sleepovers and family outings, the girls become inseparable. Even at Christmas their families would spend time together, gathered around a cosy fireplace, laughing and having fun. Indeed, Ellie had managed to find a perfect new lifestyle, but she always wondered if it was genuine coincidence or whether a greater power had played a role.
Snapping back to reality from her daydream and reaching down, Ellie clasped the pendant hanging around her neck and felt comforted. It had been a gift from her adoptive parents for her seventeenth birthday. She never took it off and felt that for as long as she wore, it they would always be with her. The way it sparkled and seemed to almost give off an energy of its own made her feel safe. The pendant was engraved with her name on the back and the front was a fierce dragon wrapped round an Ankh with a violet gem in the centre - her adoptive father was a great believer in mythology. The Ankh, he believed, was a key to the spirit. Regardless of its meaning, it was the most beautiful item Ellie owned. She thought back to her last Christmas at home and of her father telling a tale of the time he went on a vacation to Egypt. The kind of story that made Ellie feel the urge to see the world for herself even more so. Ellie was lucky enough to go on a holiday at least once a year with her adoptive family, usually places much warmer and vastly more civilized. Her room was filled with trinkets from the various places they had visited. Continuing in her own daydreaming state she carried on singing, wandering back towards the camp site.
By the time she returned to the camp Nick was already sitting on a stone by the ash remains, waiting for her. He watched her and although she seemed happy singing he could tell something was a bit off. He could see the worried expression on her face, he gently placed the canteen onto the ground
“I know you miss your family, but this is an adventure and I promised my grandfather. Once we’re done here then we’re free to continue with our lives, together.” He told her as she knelt down to place the firewood onto the ground. She quickly turned to face him, slightly agitated she replied.
“Of course I miss my family, this is the longest I have ever been without speaking to them. When you suggested a vacation I thought you meant somewhere nice like Rio or the Bahamas, not this silly jungle. Do you know what I would not give for a shower right now? Even better, what I would give for one bar of reception on my damn phone?” her voice escalated as she began to get emotional.
“I know” Nick muttered as he bowed his head to the ground. “I just wanted to do something special, something different. An adventure with you. I was hoping you felt the same”. Admittedly he felt rather guilty for dragging Ellie along. His mind now rushed to how selfish he had been, just so he didn’t have to be without her.
“I’m sorry, it’s just I wanted to spend time with you away from the city, and I have to keep my promise. It was selfish of me to drag you here and I promise I will make it up to you” Nick stated as his eyes began to glisten as if he were tearing up.
Ellie crouched in front of Nick and, using her hand, gently lifted his head up so she could see his hazel eyes.
“No, I’m sorry, it’s just I hate not being able to call my parents. I have you here though so that’s a plus. And it has been an adventure - last night was definitely something different.” She blushed at the memory before continuing. “You are the least selfish person I know Nick, at least when it comes to me” She said as she leant in and kissed him softly on the lips. Nick placed his arms around her, embracing her and smiled.
“How could you fall for a guy like me” He jested as he playfully poked her. Ellie giggled and moved away, arranging the sticks into the shape of a camp fire.
“I have no idea, but I did”. Pulling a lighter and an old piece of paper out of his backpack, Nick lit the paper and placed it in the base of the fire. Prodding it to try and get the fire started, he could hear his stomach rumble.
“Hungry much?” Ellie asked as she rummaged through the backpack for some food. Nick grunted and nodded his head as he finally managed to get the flames to engulf the firewood and the fire began to burn.
“What is it we’re here looking for again?” Questioned Ellie as she turned to face Nick, holding a tin of hotdogs in her hand.
“Well, my Grandfather told me about some old ruins he found here, with enough treasure for me and you to have start a life together.” Nick replied as he took the hotdogs and opened the tin with the can opener that Ellie passed him from the bag.
“Oh I love treasure” stated Ellie excitedly, “Shiny things make me happy, if there is a diamond I am totally calling dibs”. Nick could not help but to burst out laughing before replying.
“Babe, the first diamond we find is all yours” he said before kissing her gently on the lips.
Nick began to carefully explain the story to Ellie that he had been told so many times as a child by his grandfather. “So it was 1942, not long after the new year. My grandfather and his wing-man were flying over the jungle when they hit turbulence and were unable to save the aircraft. Being a remarkable pilot, he managed to crash it into a river rather than through the dense trees, saving both of their lives. They spent weeks wading through the swampy marsh regions of the jungle, and even longer on the dense canopy floor. Then he came across an almost perfectly circular plateau which was perfectly clear for miles around, as if it was man made. He knew this couldn’t be the case but he and his wing-man decided to cross it. When they were close to the centre, the floor caved in like some sort of fissure or pot hole. My grandfather was lucky and landed in a stream within a huge cavern. His wing-man was not so lucky and unfortunately didn’t make it home. It is there that my grandfather saw what he did and that is what we are looking for, Babe”.
“Well if your Grandfather was here before why didn’t he take this supposed treasure?” Ellie was digging for answers, as after a few days in the jungle, she had begun to wonder what Nick was thinking. “I mean, why would he just leave it there if it’s so valuable? Anyone else could take it.” Nick poured the hotdogs into the pot that was on the fire.
“Well he found it by pure luck, and he took all that he could carry, but he was alone. When he got back to the city he sold the treasure but although he made a few trips back here, he could never find the ruins again.”
Suddenly annoyed, Ellie snapped at Nick.
“Are you serious?! You don’t even know if we can find the ruins. I swear sometimes you don’t think clearly”. Stirring the hotdogs, Nick let out a little laugh and then looked Ellie in the eyes.
“I know this might seem crazy but they are near here, I know it. From the description of the area, we’re close. You know, we do have one thing that he did not. Google earth and satellite pictures.” He turned to face the cook pot and took out the hotdogs, placing them onto a paper plate. “Now eat up. We should move on soon before it starts to rain again.” Satisfied and relieved with his response, Ellie agreed, and began to eat quickly. Although she liked the rain, the jungle had too much of it.
After they had finished eating, Nick stamped out the fire and started to clear up the mess from cooking the hotdogs. Ellie was disassembling the tent, when, to her great surprise, her phone vibrated in her pocket. Nick heard the vibration and looked over.
“I didn’t know you had signal here?” he asked. Ellie dug into her pocket and pulled out the phone, turning the screen on. She paused for a second. The signal was just a brief fluke by the look of things. Regardless, she began tapping the screen a few times.
“Oh my god, it’s an email from NYU. I’ve been offered an early acceptance place on the psychology course, it says I had a great referral letter” Ellie said to Nick excitedly.
“That’s great Babe! If we find this treasure we’ll be able to pay for that as well” Nick responded, smiling.
“Yeah, as if I would risk my future on supposed treasure.” Ellie scoffed. “Alistair said he will pay for my tuition and stuff” she said as she continued to put the tent away. “I hope we’re not here too long, I cannot wait to tell my parents and Heather” she continued.
“So who wrote the referral?” he questioned, pleased for Ellie. Unsure of whom it could have been, Ellie simply shrugged, stating she would find out once she returned to the city. In her own giddy little world she once again began to daydream. This time about what her future may be like if she attended university and started meeting new people. Would she move to the city? What kind of career she would have? Would she eventually be married to Nick with a beautiful baby boy living in a luxurious New York apartment? All the questions raced across her mind, each one bringing a smile to her face.
Ever since her second year at high school Ellie had the desire to become a psychotherapist - the human mind, after all, was a very interesting object. The way emotions were portrayed by different people, how their unique minds worked; it was all very exciting for Ellie to learn about. She always liked a challenge and since she had moved to New York Ellie had had great ambitions for her future. Even when times were tough she managed to keep a smile on her face and focus towards her goals. She was unaware at this point, that her mind was the most unique one of all and the fate that would befall her in her future was because of this. It filled her with joy knowing that her application had been accepted already and she was one step closer to reaching her dreams. Even if she didn’t find the treasure with Nick - which frankly she wouldn’t think they would, but was happy to go along with it to amuse him - Ellie thought that nothing would be able to sway her from her life plan. What the couple didn’t realise was with each passing minute they spent within the rainforest, their future plans were drifting apart, beyond their reach.
Nick was far away in his mind as well, though his thoughts were somewhat different from Ellie’s as he drifted back how he met her.
After seeing the girl in the park, Nicks mind was racing for the next few days. Later that week he was invited to a penthouse party. Being the young and outgoing type, Nick couldn’t refuse. After what seemed like a few hours mingling with the crowd, he glanced over at the door and saw her. The girl from the park was standing there, facing another female, chatting. He admired her beauty, shoulder length wavy blonde hair with the stunning blue eyes to match. Usually he would consider girls like this out of his league, what with her reasonably expensive attire as if she were from a different social class, yet he just knew that he couldn’t let her get away again. So after he downed the red cup of cheap beer, he began to walk towards the girl. She caught sight of him out of the corner of her eye, looked towards him and smiled, then returned to her conversation. Nick began to sweat, wondering why he was this nervous - it was very unlike him. He paused for a brief moment to catch his breath and calm his nerves. After climbing the few steps he placed his hand on the girls shoulder. As she turned her head to face him, a shriek pierced his nostalgia and he was brought back from his daydream.
“What’s wrong?” he asked in a panic, looking around for Ellie. She was standing back against a tree, trembling with her eyes closed. She looked so scared that Nick ran straight over. “What’s wrong? Tell me” he demanded as he placed his hands on her shoulders to comfort her. Ellie slowly opened her eyes to see Nick staring right at her, his face etched with worry.
“What’s wrong? How about that huge spider on my bag?” She replied pointing towards her brown leather satchel. What followed next was no more than a series of profane words about how much Ellie hated spiders.
Twisting his head to look over at Ellie’s satchel he let go of her and gazed at the spider. She wasn’t exaggerating - this thing was massive, at least a foot long and covered in hair with large reddish eyes. Plucking up some courage, Nick strolled over to the satchel and kicked the clearly demonic arachnid off into the bushes.
“It’s gone now, you crazy fool.” Nick told her as he walked back over to the remains of the fire and continued to clear up. “Although I’m not going to lie, that thing was a beast. It reminded me a bit of that one from the Lord of the Rings” he continued. It took a few seconds for Ellie to calm down but eventually she joined Nick.
“Shut up.” She told him, clearly embarrassed. “You know I hate spiders, and that includes super-sized ones. Remember that time you made me sit through arachnophobia? I couldn’t sleep for a month afterwards.” Ellie prompted him as she wandered over to pick up her satchel. She opened it up and looked inside in paranoia for traces of more spiders or spider eggs. “And I believe you are referring to Shelob” she continued in a slightly bragging tone.
“You know who I meant anyway.” replied Nick, slightly sarcastically.
“Aren’t you done yet? I mean, come on. You had the easy job.” She teased, rummaging around in her satchel. Nick, suddenly standing right behind her, gave her a shock when he replied.
“Yes, yes I am. Now once again, let’s go before it starts to rain again.”
Reaching his hand out towards Ellie, she threw her satchel over her left shoulder and took his hand in hers as they headed towards the east through the jungle. Struggling with the floor of the dense jungle, Nick carried on with his daydream.
Back from where he left off at the party, his hand on the girls shoulder and she turned to face Nick. As she did so he could not help but to gaze into her blue eyes.
“Can I help you” she said as he was stuck in stare. After a brief moment he managed to snap out of his stupor and answer her.
“I’m sorry to interrupt but I saw you the other day in the park reading and I was mesmerized by your beauty. You were so focused on your book you didn’t see the rest of the world moving by you.” She smiled at him.
“I’m flattered but I’m not interested in men. Even ones like yourself who, by the sounds of it, read a bit of Shakespeare and consider yourself deep” she replied, slightly sarcastically, before taking a sip out of her glass which was nearly empty. Nick couldn’t help but notice her glass and, taking advantage of this, he offered to get her another one. Amused by his persistence, the girl agreed, and then, out of nowhere, a voice came from the bottom of the steps.
“I’ll come to the bar with you, I could use a drink.” Nick turned to see who had spoken and at the bottom of the stairs he saw another girl standing there.
She was in a long white sundress with an orange and yellow floral design that displayed her ample breasts. Her hair had a sort of ‘punk-rock’ look to it, with a butterfly clip above her right ear. She was wearing dark eye-liner that emphasized her stunning green eyes. He looked her up and down and noticed her high-heels had butterfly design as well. Around her neck was a shining golden pendant, the design too hard to see in detail from where Nick stood. He smiled.
“Sure, why the hell not? Let’s go to the bar.” He rather reluctantly replied.
After pushing his way through the crowded penthouse, he made it to the bar and moments after placing his elbow down on the counter to gesture the bartender, the girl in the sun-dress squeezed in right beside him, her back against the bar and looking straight at him.
“You’re wasting your time with Heather, she’s a lesbian. But she probably told you that already, so why would you bother trying?” the girl asked before turning around and tugging on the bartenders arm to get his attention.
“Look, I have no idea who you are, but I think she is amazingly beautiful and I’ve got to give it a shot, even if I get knocked back. Besides, I’ve known lesbians before who have returned from the dark side” Nick replied, rather angry as the girl in the sun-dress had been served before him.
“Firstly, did you just reference Star Wars? You are such a nerd.” The girl responded, reacting negatively to the angry tone in Nick’s voice. “And secondly, there’s no need to snap at me, I’m just trying to help. I’m Ellie, by the way. Do you not even remember me?” questioned the girl as she thrust a drink in Nick’s direction and stormed off. Nick looked at the cup and then straight back up to see Ellie walking straight past Heather and out the front door. Heather tried to stop her but failed. She looked towards Nick, her facial expression a mix between shock, anger and confusion.
Turning to the girl on her right, Heather quickly kissed her on the cheek and began to chase after Ellie. Nick, feeling a rather guilty, felt compelled to do the same and immediately followed. After what seemed to be an endless ride in the elevator with the worst music playing, the doors opened on the lobby. He stepped out and spotted Heather walking back towards the elevator.
“She’s gone. I don’t know what you said or what you did but it must have upset her.” Heather angrily informed Nick, then proceeded into the lift and pressed the button to return to the party.
“What I said?” Nick responded in surprise “I didn’t say anything!” The elevator doors closed abruptly, not allowing him to finish his sentence. Realistically, he realised Heather was paying no attention to him as the doors were closing as she appeared to be trying to contact someone on her phone. The first thought that crossed his in the empty lobby was the realisation that he had annoyed two girls in one night. It couldn’t be good karma for him.
Suddenly Nick fell a tug on his arm and there he was, back in the jungle with Ellie, who had tripped and almost fallen over. Quickly swinging around to make sure she was okay, he helped her stand up straight and laughed. He always found it amusing that Ellie was rather clumsy at times. He brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her on the lips.
“You should watch where you’re going.” He told her fondly as he pulled away. Rather shocked, Ellie pushed him away playfully.
“Coming from you! Daydreaming much? You didn’t even hear me when I asked if you could stop for a minute so I could tie up my laces.” She replied. Feeling rather guilty, Nick bent down to tie her laces for her.
“I’m sorry, I was thinking about the first night we met, you know, at that penthouse party” Nick said as he looked up to see her staring down at him. As he rose to stand straight, Ellie continued to walk ahead, talking loud enough so he could hear but not turning to look at him or even in his direction.
“You mean the night I tried to help you and you got agitated and you didn’t even remember who I was?” She stated as she reached into her satchel to pull out a bottle of water. Nick let out a quick sarcastic laugh.
“I had no idea it was you. You look so different in a uniform to how stunning you looked that night. I have to admit, you scrub up well, Miss Mason”. Spinning around to look at her boyfriend, Ellie had a smile on her face.
“Compliments won’t help you, Nicholas Cambridge. I haven’t forgotten that you were trying to hook up with Heather that night” she commented as she was walking backwards, not looking where she was going.
“To be fair, she is a rather attractive girl too. Nowhere near as breathtakingly stunning as you though, Babe” flirted Nick. Suddenly Ellie disappeared in front of his eyes, letting out a shriek that echoed throughout the rainforest.
Nick cautiously ran forward and then crouched down to see Ellie leaning against the wall at the bottom of a sink-hole, holding her right ankle.
“Oh my god, are you okay? You haven’t broken anything have you?” He questioned, slightly panicked. Ellie looked up to see Nick peering at her over the edge of the hole.
“I hurt my ankle a little, but it should be fine to walk on. I swear this hole just appeared out of nowhere. Either that, or I’m just extremely clumsy today” she called up as she continued to rub her ankle. Nick laughed for a brief moment before he sat on the edge of the hole and dropped down, landing on his feet. Ellie put her foot back on the ground and took his hand as they both looked around the immediate area. Peering down a long and narrow cavern, poorly lit by the little sun that was making its way through a few cracks.
“Well, I’ve seen this movie before. We go into that hole and end up getting chased by half naked men with blow darts and creepy masks” Ellie joked as she gazed into the narrow ravine.
“And you mocked me for being nerdy.” remarked Nick, still holding onto Ellie’s hand. He decided to investigate. “Well if there are any creepy men in masks then they are there guarding something and it may be just be what we’re looking for.”
Nick raised his hand to clear the cobwebs from the entrance of the cavern and made sure there were no spiders.
“Then again, this hole has more cobwebs than an old ladies-” before he could finish, Ellie interrupted.
“Don’t be so disgusting. Besides, old people have just as much sex as we do.”
Nick was rather put off about that thought and shuddered slightly before stepping forward.
“Yeah, next topic please. Come on, we’d might as well see what’s down here.” he said as the couple, hand in hand, pushed their way into the ravine. As they struggled down the narrow, moist, rocky hollow, they noticed it started to get wider ahead and began to pick up their pace.
“Do you know what this reminds me of?” questioned Nick as he struggled past a sharp outcropping. Ellie dared not give him time to finish before speaking up.
“If this is another dirty comment I will slap you.” She informed him. Nick chuckled.
“Actually, I was going to say Indiana Jones, but nice to see where your mind is” he responded, helping Ellie through the tight gap.
“Shut up” she said jokingly. “Besides I hope it isn’t like an Indy film, otherwise there would be so many bugs and screaming coming from myself” she continued, quickly checking her surroundings. After one final squeeze through the hardest part of the narrow cavern, the couple found themselves in a vast open subterranean cave. The stalactites hanging from the ceiling had to be bigger than some cars, one or two of them larger than a city bus. As they both looked around in marvel at the cave, they saw bats flying around, avoiding the hanging rock formations, numerous waterfalls raging down from the ceiling and the surrounding moss-covered walls. In the distance was another outcropping, covered in moss, with a small plant upon it, and above the plant there were fireflies hovering. Nick and Ellie walked to the edge and, looking at each other first, decided to gaze down into the depths of the cave. What they would see down there would change both of their lives, they were just unaware of the part that they were destined to play in the events that would follow.